Our Personal Injury FAQ
Why won’t the insurance company pay me what I'm owed? If the other driver was at fault, why do I have to pay my own medical bills? Who pays for my rental car after my car was totaled? We answer questions like these and many more in our personal injury FAQs. If your question is not covered here, give us a call at 985-590-6182.
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Shouldn’t The At- Fault Insurance Company Pay My Medical Bills?
One of the most common misconceptions of car accident victims is that the at-fault car insurance company should be paying medical bills as they are incurred. Unfortunately, while the at-fault insurance company is ultimately responsible for your damages, including medical bills, they do not have to “pay as you go.”
The At-Fault Insurance Company Doesn’t Have To Pay As You Go:
For car accident cases in Louisiana, there are usually two different claims involved: (1) the property damage claim, which includes damage to your vehicle; and (2) the injury claim, which involves damage to you, including your medical bills.
For the property damage claim, the at-fault insurance company is legally required to adjust your claim and pay for property damages within a certain amount of time after they are presented with adequate proof of loss.
For your injury claim, while the at-fault insurance company may ultimately be responsible for your medical bills, they are not legally required to pay them as they come in. Instead, they are usually interested in settling all of your injury claims, including medical expenses and general damages, all at once.
Don’t List The At-Fault Insurance Company As The Responsible Party At The ER:
It is not uncommon for our clients to report that they listed the other person’s auto insurance as the responsible party for payment at the Hospital Emergency Room. This is a mistake. First, the hospital (or any medical provider) has no right (or way) to bill the other person’s auto insurer directly for your bill. While the accident may not be your fault, you are responsible for any medical bills stemming from it.
Use Your Health Insurance:
It is a good idea to use your health insurance following a car accident, as doing so will reduce the amount of your medical obligations. If you don’t use your health insurance, medical providers may try to bill the entire medical bill directly to you and it will remain your responsibility, even if you are the victim of a wreck.
By using your health insurance, you enjoy the benefit of contracted discounts and should only be responsible for your deductibles or copays. However, it is important to know that the health insurer has the right to reimbursement in the event you settle your auto wreck case with the at-fault insurance company. Therefore, it is important to keep your health insurance company updated on the status of your auto claim. It is also important to understand the ins and outs of your health insurance company’s right to reimbursement.
The At-Fault Insurance Company Is Ultimately Responsible:
Once our client has recovered from their injuries, we gather all of their medical records and medical bills. Their medical bills become part of their personal injury claim and are factored in when negotiating a settlement with the at-fault insurance company.
Once a settlement is finalized, a portion of the settlement funds are used to pay any remaining medical bills and, if applicable, to reimburse our client’s health insurer. At Flattmann Law, we always provide our clients with a detailed breakdown of how settlement proceeds will be distributed, PRIOR to a settlement being finalized. That way, there are no surprises.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident And Have Questions About Big Medical Bills?
If you have been injured and have questions about big medical bills following an accident, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
What Rights Do Passengers Have After A Car Wreck?
Passengers in car accidents are often overlooked when it comes to accident claims. To their detriment, they typically rely on the driver to file an insurance claim for them. However, many factors, such as allocation of fault for the accident, make it a good idea for injured passengers to file and pursue their own claims…and to have UM coverage!
File Your Own Insurance Claim:
Even if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in initiated a car insurance claim with the at-fault insurance company, you are responsible for filing your own insurance claim and providing them with adequate proof of your loss (ie. your injuries and damages). Don’t rely on your driver to file and pursue a claim on your behalf.
At the accident scene, make sure to take your own pictures and videos, and make sure to collect the at-fault driver’s information, including their driver’s license, auto insurance card, and vehicle registration. If the accident was in part caused by the driver of the vehicle you were in, make sure to collect the driver’s information as well. (see below…this may be awkward, but you may have a claim against their insurance as well).
Who Is Responsible For The Wreck?:
Did the driver of the car you were riding in do anything to cause the wreck? Could they have done anything to avoid the accident? These may be uncomfortable questions, especially if the driver is your relative or friend, but they are important in determining legal responsibility. These are the questions the car insurance companies will be asking in order to determine liability.
Sometimes, liability is split among the drivers involved. Louisiana is a “comparative fault” state. That means that fault (or liability) may be allocated among the parties responsible for causing an accident. In some clear-cut situations, such as rear-end collisions, a car insurance company may accept 100% responsibility. However, some wrecks may not be as straightforward and in those situations, liability may be split among two or more parties.
Remember, filing an insurance claim does not mean that you are suing the other person. It just means that you are pursuing a claim with their insurance company to cover your bills and losses.
Do You Have UM Coverage?:
If I was a passenger, why does it matter if I had UM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) coverage? It matters because if the at-fault driver(s) does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your harms and losses, then your own UM coverage may provide you with extra insurance, even if you were only a passenger.
UM may be especially important in wrecks where many people are injured. In those cases, even if the at-fault driver had liability coverage, they may not have enough coverage to cover all of the injured victims. It is always best to protect yourself by having UM coverage.
Were You Injured While Riding As A Passenger In A Car Accident?
If you have been injured while riding as a passenger in a car accident, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
What Are Some Tips To Help Avoid Being Involved In A T-Bone Collision?
A T-bone collision refers to a car accident when one vehicle hits another in the side, forming the shape of a “T.” T-bone accidents can result in serious injury, since the driver or passenger of the vehicle incur a direct hit from the side. So, how do you avoid being in a T-bone collision?
Pay Attention At Intersections:
T-bone wrecks occur at intersections, with one vehicle typically running a red light or stop sign. When approaching an intersection, take time to observe the traffic coming from the approaching cross-street. Is traffic stopped, or is there a car that looks to be accelerating, trying to beat their light?
Watch Out For “Wavers”:
I can’t tell you how many cases we have handled where the at-fault driver claims to have been “waved” through by another driver, just before crashing into our client. This often occurs when vehicles are exiting parking lots onto busy streets. So, how do you avoid becoming a victim?
When driving past a line of cars traveling in the opposite direction, be alert for gaps in the line near parking lots, where someone in the parking lot may try to jet across. If you can’t see if someone is trying to come out of a parking lot, slow down so that you can avoid an accident if they dart out in front of you.
When Driving Down Busy Roads, Try To Pick The Outer-Most Lane:
If you have two or more lanes to choose from while driving down a busy street with lots of driveways entering from the right side, safely switch lanes to the outer-most (probably the left) lane. In doing so, you create more space between you and vehicles entering the roadway, decreasing your chance of getting hit by those vehicles.
Be Extra Careful When Approaching “Yield On Green” Intersection:
“Yield on green” intersections are those when traffic in both directions have a green light, but oncoming traffic has the option of making an “unprotected” turn in front of you, only if it is safe to do so (ie. they must yield to oncoming traffic before turning). These intersections are dangerous because the person looking to turn may not remember that they must yield to oncoming traffic, automatically associating a green light with a green turning arrow, which they don’t have.
T-bones at yield on green intersections are especially common because the turning vehicle usually turns very quickly without stopping first, giving oncoming traffic very little time to react in order to avoid the collision.
Were You Injured In A T-Bone Collision?
If you have been injured in a T-bone collision, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
Why Is The Insurance Company Requesting The Past 5 Years Of My Medical Records?
Insurance companies sometimes ask you to sign a blanket medical authorization after a car wreck so that they can obtain your medical records. Should you sign those forms? Why are they looking to get medicals that far back, and even prior to the accident?
What Do My Past Medical Records Have To Do With My Accident?:
In big accident cases, the at-fault car insurance company (or your UM insurer) may ask you for medical records from before your accident. There is no legal limit on what they can request, but most companies may request five years of past records.
The goal of the insurance company in obtaining past records is so that they can compare those records to your current (post-accident) injuries and complaints. For instance, if you are claiming low back injuries from a car wreck, the insurance company wants to see if you had any prior low back injuries or complaints documented in past medical records. If you do, they will compare those past complaints to your current condition. Their goal is to downplay your current injuries or blame them altogether on an unrelated incident, prior to the accident in question.
Does The Insurance Company Have The Right To Get My Medical Records?:
In Louisiana, if a lawsuit has not yet been filed for an accident, the at-fault insurance company does not have the right to get your medical records without your permission, usually in the form of a medical records release. This is a double-edged sword, as failing to comply with the insurance company’s request may lead to their outright denial of your claim. The best thing to do is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can weight the pros and cons of your individual situation.
It is important to note that you may have a different set of responsibilities when dealing with your own insurance company under a UM (Uninsured/underinsured motorist) claim. That’s because the relationship you have with your own insurance company is contractual and you must adhere to the rules set out in your insurance policy, including working with them to explore claims.
Do The Rules Change If I File Suit?:
Once a lawsuit is filed on a car accident case, the rules on obtaining past medical records change. After a suit is filed, the at-fault insurance company has the right to conduct discovery, which includes exploring your medical history as it relates to your claims.
In a lawsuit, an insurance company will typically request your medical authorization so that they can obtain pertinent medical records. Sometimes, they will ask for medical records prior to the accident date, again trying to prove that your injuries were pre-existing and unrelated to the accident at issue.
The rule during discovery is generally that the insurance company has the right to collect information which may lead to admissible evidence at trial. This is very broad. However, it is not without its limitations. At Flattmann Law, we protect our clients from overly broad requests into their past medical treatment, especially when past treatment is completely unrelated to their current complaints. For instance, we might object to a request for 10 years of our client’s past psychological treatment notes if their current claims have nothing to do with psychological injuries.
Again, whether or not the insurance company has the right to request past medical records and the extent of their requests can be complicated and are individual to every case. It can be extremely beneficial to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss these issues before making any decisions regarding the release of medical information.
Do You Have Questions About An Insurance Company's Request For Medical Records After An Accident?
If you have been injured in a car wreck and have questions about an insurance company's request for medical records after an accident, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
Should You Rely On The Police Report After An Accident?
Police are integral to keeping our families safe. They put their lives on the line every day for their communities. They handle life and death situations every day. Piecing together car accident reports may not be high on their priority list, and that’s why you have to take steps after an accident to collect evidence yourself!
What Information Is In A Police Report?:
Most Louisiana law enforcement use the same uniform crash report form for car accidents. The form captures lots of information. Most importantly for car accident claims, it includes the names of the drivers and passengers involved, the owner(s) of the vehicles, information about the vehicles, and car insurance information. The police report will also state whether any tickets (citations) were issued.
Police reports also include a narrative report stating how the accident occurred. This is important. However, in an estimated 25% of the reports we see, the narrative report contains an error in its description of the accident. For example, a report may incorrectly show the position of the vehicles or show one turning right, when they were really turning left.
Errors in police reports are understandable, as the police arrive on scene after the accident occurs. Sometimes the drivers have already been transported to the hospital and aren’t even available to give their account of the accident. Even when all the parties are still at the scene, the police officer must take in differing reports of what happened, sometimes even from witnesses. They take that information, as well as visual evidence of the crash, to put together the accident report.
Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself In Case A Report Contains Errors:
If they are able to do so, accident victims should take it upon themselves to collect information and evidence from the scene.
First, take as many pictures and videos of the scene as possible. Make sure to capture the position of the vehicles, the road, any traffic signals, etc. Once the cars are moved, that evidence will be lost forever.
Second, get the other driver’s information, including their name, their insurance carrier, and their policy number. Write down the make and model of their vehicle. If possible, take a picture of their driver’s license, insurance card, and registration.
Why Is It Important To Collect Your Own Evidence?
Collecting your own evidence is important for a number of reasons. First, if the police report is incorrect, you will have the photos and videos to prove your case. This is important to insurance adjusters, who are responsible for establishing liability for the accident.
Second, even if the police report is accurate, it may take weeks to obtain it. If you already have information regarding the other driver and their insurance, you will be able to initiate the claims process without having to wait for the police report, which will save you time.
Have You Been In An Accident And Have Questions About The Accuracy Of A Police Report?
If you have been injured in a car wreck and have questions about the accuracy of a police report, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
Why Does It Matter To My Insurance Claim How Many People Were Injured In A Wreck?
A multi-vehicle wreck or multi-car pile up can have serious consequences. Accident victims in wrecks involving multiple people with injuries sometimes find themselves battling each other for compensation from a limited fund.
The More Injured People In An Accident, The Less Insurance Available:
If you have been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, there is a real possibility that the amount of compensation you may be able to recover from the at-fault insurer will be limited. Why? Because auto insurance policies in Louisiana have bodily injury and property damage liability limits that cover the entire accident, and do not increase based on the number of injured people or vehicles involved.
Say you are a victim of a car wreck on US Highway 190 in Covington. It was a major accident involving multiple vehicles. The at-fault driver clipped a car, then rammed into the back of your truck, causing you to hit the vehicle in front of you. All three vehicles were totaled. To make things worse, each of the three vehicles had a passenger in them, and all 6 occupants (drivers and passengers) were injured.
The at-fault driver had State Farm. He had the minimum 15/30/25 coverage. That means, he had bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $15,000 per person up to a limit of $30,000 for each accident (everyone who was injured), and property damage limits of $25,000.
In this scenario, State Farm will have only $30,000 TOTAL to cover the medical expenses and general damages of all six injury victims. Unfortunately, all six went to the hospital and the ER bills alone total $40,000. What makes matters worse is that all three vehicles were totaled and have a combined actual cash value of $80,000. State Farm only has $25,000 to cover this.
As you can see, getting in a muti-vehicle wreck can mean that the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage may be inadequate to cover the losses.
What Will The At-Fault Insurance Company Do If Their Limits Are Not Sufficient?:
As an initial step, the insurance company for a driver who causes a multi-vehicle and/or multi-injury wreck will try to figure out if it can settle the claims of all the drivers with the amount of coverage it has available. If they believe this is possible, they will request that all the parties send in their claim information, including medical bills and records, and then make settlement offers to each claimant.
If, on the other hand, the insurance company realizes that settling all the claims within its policy limits will be impossible, it will do one of two things. Sometimes the at-fault insurance company will try to determine the most serious claims and try to settle those from the policy limits. If they can, they have effectively eliminated the most serious exposure to their insured (the at-fault driver). However, it also means that several other claims, albeit smaller claims, may remain to pursue the at-fault driver personally. (As a side note, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would still have to provide them with a defense if they were sued).
If the at-fault insurance company decides that it is impossible to settle with any of the injured claimants within its limits, it may not make personal injury offers to anyone. In such a case, the injured parties would have to sue the at-fault driver and his insurance company.
Finally, with regard to property damage, in Louisiana the at-fault insurer is legally required to pay such claims. In a multi-vehicle accident involving a limited amount of property damage coverage, the insurance company typically evaluates each person’s loss, then divides the available policy limits “pro-rata” (proportionately) among the claimants.
So, what should you do to avoid this scenario?
How Do I Protect Myself From Limited Insurance?:
Having an efficient and fast attorney on your side is one step you can take to help maximize your recovery in a multi-vehicle accident case. An attorney who quickly gathers your medical bills and records and submits adequate proof of loss to the insurance company gives you the best chance of recovering before everyone else. If the at-fault insurance company decides that it doesn’t have enough coverage to pay all the claims, but decides to pay some of them, having your paperwork ready on their desk gives you the best chance of recovering.
Also, make sure to have UM (uninsured/underinsured motorist) and collision coverage! We cannot stress this enough and have done many other articles on this issue alone. UM insurance will provide additional insurance to you in the event the at-fault driver was uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your injury claim. Collision coverage is similar and covers damage to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault for the wreck. Make sure you have these coverages!
Have You Been In A Multi-Vehicle Accident And Are Worried That The Number Of Injured Claimants Will Diminish Your Claim Value?
If you have been injured in a multi-vehicle car wreck and are worried that the number of injured claimaints will diminish your claim value, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
What Does “No Pay No Play” Mean In Louisiana?
After an accident, insurance companies usually ask the victim for proof of insurance, even if the wreck wasn’t their fault. This is because Louisiana has the “No Pay No Play” law, which penalizes uninsured drivers, even if they are involved in an accident that is not their fault.
No Pay No Play Is A Penalty For Uninsured Drivers, Even If They Are Not At Fault:
In Louisiana, the current law requires drivers to have minimum liability coverage (covering them for accidents which are their fault) in the amount of 15/30/25. That is, they must have bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $15,000 per person up to a limit of $30,000 for everyone who is injured, and property damage limits of $25,000.
If an uninsured driver is in a wreck which is not their fault, La. R.S. 32:866 imposes a penalty on them by decreasing the amount they may be able to recover from the at-fault insurer. The statute bars uninsured drivers from recovering the first $15,000 of their bodily injury claim and the first $25,000 of their property damage claim.
Example Of No Pay No Play:
As an example, uninsured driver, Mark is in an accident when he is rear-ended by an 18-wheeler whose driver was not paying attention. Mark has serious injuries and the value of his personal injury claims is $50,000. The wreck also totaled Mark’s vehicle, which has an actual cash value of $20,000. Because Mark is uninsured, the No Pay No Play law bars Mark from recovering the first $15,000 of his $50,000 claim, allowing him to collect only $35,000. For his totaled vehicle, Mark will not be able to collect its $20,000 value.
There Are Exceptions To No Pay No Play:
There are a few exceptions to the rule, including if the other driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated, intentionally causes the wreck, or flees the scene.
Also, it is important to note that the No Pay No Play rule does not apply to passengers. That means an injured passenger is not penalized by the rule, even if the car they are riding in is not insured. The law only applies to the owner or operator of the vehicle.
Have You Been In An Accident With An Uninsured Driver Or Being Given The Runaround By The Insurance Company Based On The No Pay No Play Rule?
If you have been injured in a car wreck with an uninsured driver or are being given the runaround by the insurance company based on the No Pay No Play Rule, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
Will I Be Followed By A Private Investigator If I File An Insurance Claim?
Insurance companies sometimes hire investigators to spy on car accident victims who have filed car accident claims. Typically, insurance companies only do this if the potential value of a car wreck claim is big enough, since the cost of hiring investigators can be pricey. Most insurance companies have their own, “in-house” investigators whose job it is to gather information on accident victims, hoping to show that the claimant is engaging in physical activity contrary to their injury claim or doctor’s recommendations.
Why Insurance Companies Hire Private Investigators:
Insurance companies hire private investigators to get information on a claimant in order to discredit them or devalue their claim. If a car wreck claim involves a serious injury, investigators look online for social media posts showing our client participating in physical activities. If a client is claiming that a car accident caused emotional distress, the investigator will look for Facebook posts where our client appears to be having fun or socializing.
Of course, a snapshot of a Tweet or a photo from Facebook, in themselves, can be taken out of context very easily. And, that’s exactly what the insurance company relies on.
Example of Insurance Companies Spying On Accident Victims:
The extent of an insurance company’s investigation or surveillance of an accident victim can range from simple online searches, including google and social media searches, to in-person spying.
Most of the time, the insurance company will not reveal whether they have done any surveillance on our client until they have to exchange “impeachment” evidence before trial (that is, evidence that someone is lying). In our practice, in almost 20 years, we have received only a handful of surveillance videos from insurance companies, allegedly showing our clients doing something they shouldn’t have been doing.
For instance, one video was taken in the parking lot of a grocery store and showed our client lifting a case of water into his truck. The insurance company argued that he was not following his doctor’s orders, which restricted lifting to 40 pounds. We were able to prove that the pack of water weighed only 35 pounds and pointed out that at the time the video was taken, our client was frantically preparing for a hurricane which hit later that night.
What To Do If You Think The Insurance Company Is Tracking You:
First of all, we tell all our clients to expect the insurance company to search their social media posts. Social media posts can be taken out of context very easily. A simple statement like “I’m doing fine” can be misconstrued to diminish the fact that the person is going through severe pain from a car accident.
If you think you are being followed by a private investigator, be extra aware of your actions, including any physical restrictions from your doctor. Keep notes on when you were followed and a description of the person following you, including their vehicle information. If it is safe and you are able to do so, take photos and video of them! Give all of this information to your attorney so that they can follow up with the insurance company and request surveillance information.
If you don’t feel safe, or if the person following you invades your personal space or crosses the line by trespassing on your property, call the police and report them.
Are You Wondering Whether The Insurance Company Is Investigating Your Car Wreck Claim?
If you have been injured in a car wreck, and wondering whether the insurance comapny is investigating your car wreck claim, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
How Do We Use The Internet To Investigate A Car Wreck Claim?
There is an amazing amount of information out there in cyberspace! When Flattmann Law is hired to represent a client with a car accident claim, it is not uncommon for us to take to the internet for some initial research and investigation.
Even for car wrecks that may seem straightforward (like rear-end collisions), we typically use sites like Google Maps to get a better idea for the accident scene. We look at intersections, locations of stop signs and traffic lights, distractions, etc. If we have the information before an initial client consultation, we sometimes print out maps so that we can have our client point out exactly where an accident happened. We want to make sure we understand exactly what happened so that we can represent our clients most effectively.
Social Media Sites, including Facebook:
It is amazing how much personal information people post on social media. Not only do criminals collect (or mine) the data placed on social media, but after a major car wreck case, insurance adjusters and their investigators may also be collecting that information. In fact, when we take a case, one of the first things we tell our clients is to be careful what they post, as a photo, video, or statement may be misconstrued and used against them later on.
When we are working on a big personal injury claim, we may search social media sites, including Facebook to see what information our clients have posted publicly. We look for pictures, videos, and anything else which may be used against them in their case.
If a car wreck claim involves a company vehicle, we may need to search online for the company’s corporate information, including whether they are registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State. When we file a lawsuit, it is important to get information regarding the company’s registered agent for service. This is especially true for insurance company defendants, whose information may be found on the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s website.
Police Reports and Other Records:
For 95% of our cases, we are able to obtain police reports for car wrecks online. Sometimes, depending on the accident, the police also take pictures of the scene which are available to purchase.
In some cases requiring substantial research, we may submit public records requests (or Freedom of information requests) to different public entities via online portals. For instance, a public records request may be issued to the State of Louisiana for traffic camera footage.
Have You Been Injured In A Car Wreck In Covington Or The Surrounding Area?
If you have been injured in a car wreck in Covington or surrounding areas, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.
If The Accident Was The Other Guy’s Fault, Do I Still File A Claim With My Insurance?
One of the most common questions following a car accident is “Do I file a claim with my insurance, the other person’s insurance, or both?” As explained below, the quick answer is that you may want to file with both insurance companies, especially if the wreck was not your fault.
Stop Reading And Call Us! We May Be Able To Take Care Of Everything!:
At Flattmann Law, we can take care of every aspect of an insurance claim, including the initial filing of claims following a car wreck. This means you don’t have to file a claim with anyone. If we take your case, we can take care of that for you!
Filing A Claim With The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company:
If the accident was caused by the other driver, make sure to file a claim with their insurance company as soon as possible. Sometimes, the other driver has already reported a claim and a claim is already set up and all the insurance company needs is your information. Sometimes, however, a new claim has to be set up, which can take a good deal of time over the phone.
Why You Should Also Report The Claim To Your Insurance Company:
“Why would I report the claim to my insurance company if I’m not at fault?” “Won’t that just raise my rates?” I know that people are hesitant to report insurance claims for fear that their rates may go up or that they may get cancelled.
But rest assured that by law, insurance companies in Louisiana are not allowed to raise your premium or cancel your insurance based on “no-fault incidents.” Louisiana Revised Statute 22:1284 prohibits insurance companies from increasing rates, cancelling, or failing to renew any motor vehicle insurance policy based on one or more no-fault incidents, meaning an accident involving a vehicle covered by a policy in which the driver of the insured vehicle was not at fault.
One reason for reporting the claim to your insurance company is that it may be required by your insurance policy. Typically, the fine language in the insurance policy requires policyholders to report any accident or potential claim to the insurance company as soon as possible. If you don’t report an accident, the insurance company may try to hold that against you if you have to file a claim in the future.
A second reason for filing a claim with your insurance company is to make sure they hear from you first regarding the accident. Remember that anyone can file an insurance claim. You don’t want your insurance company to hear from the other driver first, even if they are lying about the facts of the accident in an attempt to skirt responsibility. Also, the at-fault insurance company will likely check to make sure your insurance was valid at the time of the accident. In Louisiana, this is called the “no pay, no play” rule, which requires a claimant to have their own valid insurance.
Finally, another reason for filing a claim with your insurance company is that it may be the quickest way to resolve your property damage and rental claim. If you have collision coverage (which is optional coverage), going through your own insurance company for an accident is typically faster than waiting on the at-fault insurer to investigate the claim. (Check out our other articles on collision coverage). Also, if the at-fault party did not have insurance or had only minimum coverage, you may have claims with your own insurance company if you have optional coverages like UM or med-pay.
Have You Been Injured In A Wreck And Feeling Overwhelmed With The Insurance Claim Process?
If you have been injured in a wreck and feeling overwhelmed about the insurance claim process, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.